Calif. city faces officer exodus for better pay
San Jose's salaries come in at middle-of-the-pack for the Bay Area; current shortage has detectives being reassigned to patrol as 200 officers resign to go elsewhere
By Mike Rosenberg and Daniel J. Willis
San Jose Mercury News
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The toughest case to crack at the San Jose Police Department may be figuring out how to hire more cops when taxpayers already are paying more for their officers than nearly any Bay Area city — even as officers are fleeing for bigger paychecks elsewhere.
From pay and overtime to city contributions toward their pension and medical benefits, San Jose police officers in 2012 cost taxpayers an average of $189,621 each, this newspaper's review of payroll data found. That total ranked fifth out of 79 Bay Area cities that supplied raw payroll data in response to public records requests -- and that's before a pay raise the officers won last week.
But police cost so much in San Jose mainly because their benefits are so expensive. Looking just at regular wages, San Jose officers' average gross pay of $111,185 ranks only in the middle of the pack in the Bay Area and near the bottom in Silicon Valley, the data reviewed by this newspaper showed. As a result, many officers have been hitting the road for better-paying cities, creating a shortage so bad that some detectives are being pulled off their investigations to roam the streets on patrol.